Featured image credit to CC Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images 2.0
On November 27th, 2019 prior to the New Orleans Pelicans vs the Los Angeles Lakers game ( AKA The Anthony Davis return), Bleacher Report’s Mirin Fader wrote a report on the grueling and heartbreaking journey of Brandon Ingram from his nasty blood clot injury that sidelined him till now. In the report, she detailed the harsh realities Ingram faced while recovering from such a nasty injury and the surgery he went through.
“Brandon Ingram could hardly breathe. He’d try and try, inhaling deeply as he walked along the beach near his home in Los Angeles, but each attempt fell short. Stuck, somehow; a full breath just out of reach. He’d return home and continue to practice breathing by pacing up and down his four flights of stairs. But he’d still end up gulping for air, frustrated and confused.” – Fader Bleacher Report
BI backed him down 😤 pic.twitter.com/LknH2ObM63
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 4, 2019
The heartbreaking reality of Brandon Ingram is as detailed. In late March of 2019, Ingram had been feeling severe pain in his shoulder. Forced to sit out of practice, X-Rays determined he had a blood clot in his right arm, which was later diagnosed as deep venous thrombosis. Ingram had to undergo thoracic outlet decompression surgery in his right arm, the blood clot arm. A surgery that would end his up and down season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
For Ingram, this must have been disappointing as he had seemed to have finally turned the corner for the Lakers as he was averaging over 28 points and 7 rebounds after the all-star break in 2019. This was amidst all the trade rumors swirling around the young star and his teammates Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Ingram ended his season averaging 18.3 ppg, 5.1 RPG, and 3.0 ast. These were career numbers up to this point (sans the assist), but all disappointing when people expected him to be the co-star that would ride with Lebron into Laker glory.
“Not being able to do something so fundamental, so simple, was jarring. How am I ever going to get back to being the player I was? he’d think.” – Fader Bleacher Report
Then came the injury. Then came the Surgery. Then came the grind. According to Fader, Ingram had been on a breathing machine after surgery and struggled with simple tasks such as walking. Can you imagine that? Being on top of the world doing the one thing that you love one day. Then the next, you can barely breathe and walk? Imagine having two of the most fundamental aspects of your life stripped away from you with a snap of your fingers.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 4, 2019
Imagine had to grind back to have them. You never take them for granted. right now. take a deep breath. Now move your legs. These are two Things Brandon Ingram could not do just months ago. At 21 years of age, the 6 foot 9 forward out of Duke had lost his ability to breathe properly. Mentally, that changes you as a person.
Doctors had him use a machine that prompted him to suck in air, and a corresponding tube would shoot up and down, telling him how much pressure he could produce. “First week, I’m coming up short. Real short,” Ingram says. “I kept building up, building up.” It took about a month to capture his normal cadence. -Fader Bleacher Report
Ingram’s surgery cost him a rib, which essentially staggered his breathing. In detailing his journey to Nader, he mentions how much of a battle it was to breathe and how he came up short attempting to breathe. The worst part about the entire ordeal was Ingram attempting to feel like himself.
“I was just trying to get back to being me.” He’d watch highlights of himself playing to remind himself that the player on the screen was still him, that just months earlier he had finally broken through to play the best basketball of his career. -Fader Bleacher Report
The inability to play basketball took a toll on Ingram, Ingram was quoted to be in his worst mood ever in the Bleacher Report post. Just days after finally figuring everything out with the whirlwind that was a Los Angeles Lakers in 2018-2019, Ingram was playing the best basketball of his career.
The worst part about this was even if he had been ascending the way he was from the beginning of the season, This injury still could’ve occurred. The main reason as to why Ingram had the blood clot in the first place was in the specificities of how he worked out, played, and trained. It is, a freak accident, but Ingram had to change a lot fundamentally. Fortunately, this has a feverishly low chance of happening again for Ingram, so we don’t have a Chris Bosh situation according to Doctors. However, it was still scary.
The Trauma this young man must’ve gone through is unfathomable. The inability to function, to rely on others for simple tasks every day.
“I was afraid of the unknown,” says Joann, his mother. “Brandon was more upset about the fact that he couldn’t play.” She remembers Brandon breaking down crying, telling her he’d miss the rest of the season.-Fader Bleacher Report
A young man with the future ahead of him, with the weight of the world coming down on his shoulders and so much potential, this was devastating. The young talent was just scratching the surface. Then the uncertainty came, the fear came, the tears flowed. This could be it for someone with so much going for themselves. it makes one think to never take anything for granted for it can be taken away in an instant.
Ingram was forced to grow up in many ways. He had a lot of time to think. Especially about time. How fleeting it is, how wonderful it is. How little he has of it, how much he thought he had of it. “I thought I was invincible,” -Fader Bleacher Report
“That surgery was a call for me, a call for me to finding myself.”
That summer, he’d stare at himself in the mirror and think: Who are you? What do you really want to do? Who do you really want to be? -Fader Bleacher Report
Ingram spent the summer rehabbing. He couldn’t play basketball, he wasn’t listed as active until roughly 2 weeks before preseason. That’s insane by the way. No time to train or condition for the season is asinine to comprehend.
Ingram had a revelation over the summer. A summer usually spent for NBA players working on their game was spent on reflection and repurposing while rehabbing for Ingram.
A rekindling of the fire was sparked in the darkest crevasses of his heart, and a new man was born out of the fire ready to reign hell on his opponents and all that stood in his way. The 6-month excavation of the heart and the soul for Ingram must’ve been a hard one. But it was one fruitful and bore many green pastures in his new Journey in New Orleans. Ingram is reloaded and right now he is unloading the clip on opponents.
Ingram is currently averaging 25.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg.,4.1 ast. on .415 3pt% ( all career highs) and a .489 field goal percentage, leading a young Pelicans team sans the number 1 overall pick in Zion Williamson. At the beginning of the season, he was averaging over 50% on field goals and 3pointers. Those numbers have since lowered, however, these are staggering coming from a player who had no offseason.
these are numbers reflecting Ingram’s redesign as a person coming off that life-threatening injury. These are a reflection of his last few games in LA as well. This is the BI we all predicted when he was drafted 2nd overall in 2016.
He is finally coming to form. Personally, I believe he was going to be performing like this even if the blood clot didn’t occur, based on his last few games with LA. However, I believe that the blood clot allowed Ingram to see life through a wider lens and this will be the defining moment in what I believe to be a hall of fame career when it’s all said and done.
A 6 foot 9, lanky build with a 7 foot 3 wingspan, the type of player coaches dream of. Carrying an offensive game last seen with Kevin Durant, Ingram promises to grow and get better every day.
Me personally I’m genuinely happy for this young man and I hope to meet him one day to tell him how inspiring his journey is. I wish the best for the 22-year-old forward who has the world ahead of him. I believe his journey in the past year although it is an anomaly, is one that can inspire the masses. It is the reason we love sports. Its the story of someone who had everything taken from him, and he climbs back from the depths of all the suffering to smile and appreciate the little things such as breathing. Then goes out to take the world by storm.
Breathe y’all, appreciate each inhale and exhale. Don’t take anything for granted and become all that you’re meant to be. This young man is, and he’s doing it without regret, he’s doing it with passion. This is Brandon Ingram, reloaded.
Thank you for reading